how to build a wordpress website

How to Build a WordPress Website for Beginners

How to Build a WordPress website

If you are ready to learn how to build a WordPress website, you’ll definitely want to read and bookmark this post. I’m going to teach you how to to create a WordPress website, in simple “non-techy” way.

Over the years, I’ve built several websites for the businesses that my husband and I own so, I’m very comfortable working with WordPress. I also remember what is was like when I first started working with WordPress, so I’ll keep things super simple to understand. I want you to be able to  get your website up an running as quickly as possible.

Tools You'll Need to Create a WordPress Website

Before you can build a WordPress website, there are some tools that you’ll need to to create a functional site. Here’s what you will need:

1. Domain name: this is the website address (Example: www.yourdomain.com), that people will use to access your website

2. Hosting company: this is the space on the Internet where your website files will live

3. Theme: your theme is the “decoration” for your website. I use Astra.

4. Plugins: customize and add functionality to your website

 

5. Security measures:

  • SSL Encryption

  • Wordfence

Not required, but highly recommended:

6. Page Builder: To make creating and customizing your website and web pages easy

7. Opt-in forms: They way that you will collect email addresses from people that want your lead magnet.

Don't build your website on a free platform. You need a website where you are able to control the content and not be at the mercy of a social media platform.

How to Build a WordPress Website from Scratch

This post contains affiliate links.

Let’s get started…

1. Choose your hosting company and plan

The first thing you’ll need to do is select a hosting company and plan so that your website files have a place to reside. For my website, I use (and highly recommend) Siteground.

I’ve used other hosting companies in the past, but Siteground has been my choice for several years now. They have great customer service and I’ve never experienced any outages on my website.

For this post, I’ll be demonstrating the WordPress website setup using  Siteground. To begin setting up your WordPress website, from the main page select “Get Started” under the WordPress Hosting option (see the picture below).

 

Next, you’ll be directed to the page below, to select a hosting plan.  For most people that are building their first WordPress website, you can select the StartUp plan. As your website traffic grows or if you decide you want to host additional websites, you can upgrade to the GrowBig plan.

Click “Get Plan” under the option you choose and you’ll be directed to the next page to enter or purchase your domain name.

 

2. Select your domain name

If you already have a domain name, you’ll enter it here (see picture below). This will allow the WordPress website you are about to create to be connected to your domain.

If you need a domain, you can buy it via any reputable domain registrar (I use and highly recommend GoDaddy) or just use Siteground. At the time this post was written, the cost to register a domain via Siteground is $15.95 for the first year.

 

3. Complete your hosting plan order

 On the next screen, you’ll decide if you want the SG Site Scanner (scans for hacked websites and malicious code). Next, you’ll create a login for your Siteground account and complete your  hosting plan purchase.

Create Your WordPress Login:

If you purchased a domain name via Siteground, it might take a few minutes to get notification that you can use your domain. Alternatively, if you already owned a domain that you will be using, you’ll need to change the nameservers to the ones provided by Siteground.

It may take as much as 24 hours for the nameserver change to take place.  FYI, nameservers just tell your domain registrar where to point your domain.

Once your domain name and hosting account are set up, you’ll need to create a username and password for your WordPress website.

Here’s some advice for creating your login information:

1) Do not use your website domain or the word “admin” for your username. Once your website is up and running, you can count on hackers attempting to access your website. They will most certainly try the word “admin” and your domain name in the username field.

2) Use a very strong password that consists of a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. All of my passwords are unique (only used on one website) and are 16-20 characters in length. I use 1Password (a reputable password keeper) to store all of my passwords for every website that I access. Additionally, I use 1Password to generate strong passwords for websites.

I can’t stress enough the importance of using a strong password and a unique username, as added protection against hackers.

Activate the SSL Encrytion:

Siteground gives you free SSL Encryption via Let’s Encrypt, to make your website more secure. Make sure to activate SSL encryption in your hosting account.

What this does is change your domain address from http://yourdomain.com to https://yourdomain.com.  The “S” in https indicates an encrypted, secure connection.

Enabling SSL encryption via Let’s Encrypt,  makes your domain more secure by giving website owners the digital certificates they need in order to enable HTTPS
(SSL/TLS).

Don’t skip this step! A lot of visitors will immediately leave a website that does not use https:// protocol.

 

WordPress Dashboard

Now that you have completed your hosting company setup items, you will now work within the dashboard of your WordPress website.

Think of the dashboard  as the “command center” for your website. The dashboard is where you will perform most of the remaining steps necessary to finalize the build of your WordPress website.

Here’s how to access the WordPress Dashboard:

To get to your website’s dashboard, you’ll type the following into your web browser:

https://yourdomain.com/wp-admin

From here you’ll be directed to a page where you will be prompted to enter the username and password that you created via Siteground.

In the steps that follow, you’ll start from your dashboard to perform the actions.

Set the Permalink Post Structure on Your WordPress Website

Once you have set up your WordPress website, login you’ll want to change the permalink post structure. This will allow the URLs of your posts to be more SEO friendly and make linking to them easier.

Here’s how to Set the Post Structure:

From the WordPress dashboard, scroll down to Settings, then click on  Permalinks. Under Common Settings, select Post Name.

What this will do is structure your pages and posts with a URL that can improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Additionally, your posts and pages will have easy to read name such as https://yourdomain.com/how-to-create-a-blog-post

This step is crucial! Otherwise, WordPress will assign your posts a very difficult to read post structure.

How to Install a Theme on a WordPress Website

As you continue to build your WordPress website, the next thing you’ll need to do is install a theme. A theme is a design for your website. WordPress has thousands of themes; some are free and others you’ll need to pay to purchase and use.

You may also change themes at any time and as often as you would like. Keep in mind that when you change themes, you may need to make adjustments on your website. Themes may handle items differently and pages, post, etc. may need adjustments after a new theme is installed.

Here’s how to install a WordPress theme:

From the WordPress dashboard select Appearance, then Themes, then click on “Add New.” At this point you can search for free themes. Alternatively, if you have purchased a theme, you can click on “Upload Theme” and select the zip file containing the theme. Once you install the theme of your choice, you can begin to customize it to your liking.

The theme that I use and recommend is Astra. The Astra theme is very popular, highly customizable and fast. (Fast loading websites are very important to visitors.) Astra has both a free starter version and also a pro version (annual fee).

How to Install Plugins

The next step to necessary to build your WordPress website, is to add functionality. You’ll do this by adding Plugins. Developers create plugins to perform certain functions such as design, caching, security, search engine optimization (SEO), url shorteners, etc. Many of the plugins are free to use and make tasks easy to perform.

Here’s how to  install a WordPress Plugins:

From the WordPress dashboard, scroll down to Plugins, then click on “Add New.”  Next, search for the plugin you would like to add and then click “Install Now.”  After the plugin is installed, click Activate. Before installing any plugin, make sure it is compatible with the version of WordPress you have installed.

Here are a few plugins that I recommend you install on your website:

Email Functionality:

  •  ConvertKit – allows you to easily add opt-in forms created in ConvertKit to your website
  • Easy WP SMTP– Send email via Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). Simply put, you’ll be able to send email replies via your domain name based email address (Example: you@yourdomain.com) via your WordPress website

General Functionality:

  • Broken Link Checker – Checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found
  • Google Analytics Dashboard for WP – Displays Google Analytics Reports and Real-Time Statistics on your WordPress dashboard
  • Pretty Links– Shrink, track and share any URL using your website and brand
  • WP-Optimize – cleans the database, compresses images and caches pages to keep your website running fast
  • WP-SpamShield – anti-spam plugin that eliminates comment spam, trackback spam, contact form spam, and registration spam

Website Building Tools:

  • Elementor – drag and drop page builder, pixel perfect design, mobile
    responsive editing, etc. (See the section below on Elementor)
  • Starter Templates – all in one solution for complete starter sites,
    single page templates, blocks & images. This plugin works in
    conjunction with Astra Pro (paid version of the Astra theme).

Search Engine Optimization:

  •  Google XML Sitemaps – improves SEO using sitemaps for best indexation by search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and others
  • Yoast SEO – all-in-one SEO tool, that provides on-page content analysis

Security:

  •  Wordfence – Anti-virus, Firewall (to help prevent your website from getting hacked) and Malware Scan (MUST HAVE)

I use all of the plugins mentioned above, on my website. Keep in mind that you can add or delete plugins at any time. Update installed plugins as new versions become available. You can do this manually or enable auto-updates.

I recommend deleting plugins that you no longer use or that are not being updated by the developer on a regular basis.

How to Build a WordPress Website with Elementor

One of the tools that I used to build my website is Elementor, which is a page builder, in it’s simplest form. Elementor works in conjunction with your theme to make creating pages and adding various elements super simple.

In addition to helping you create pages, you can easily add headings, forms, videos, columns, buttons, icons, and a whole slew of other things. These items can be added by simply dragging and dropping the items where you would like them to appear on your page.

Elementor has both a free and a pro (paid) version (which comes with a lot more features and functionality).

Add Pages to Your WordPress Website

Now that you have added your theme, plugins and page builder it’s time to start adding some pages to your website. Keep in mind that the theme you selected will have some pre-designed pages included. If you need to add more pages, you can always do so.
 

Here’s how to add pages to your WordPress website:

From the dashboard, scroll down to Pages, then click “Add New.” Now you will have a blank page that you can use to begin creating content. Personally, I don’t like creating pages from scratch. I like to be able to use templates or copy the design from another page.
 
This is where Elementor Pro comes in handy.  You can create a page template and use it on any new pages you add.  Additionally, you can copy a page using Elementor and paste it to another page. Now you can just change the page content to reflect the topic of the new page.
 

Here are some recommended pages for your website:

  • Home
  • About Me
  • Products or Services
  • Contact Me
  • FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
  • Resources
  • Affiliate Policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms and Conditions

Add Posts to Your WordPress Website

If you plan to have a blog as part of your website, you’ll want to create posts for your blog.
 

Here’s how to add posts to your WordPress website:

From the dashboard, scroll down to Posts, then click “Add New.” Now you will have a blank page that you can use to create a new blog post.
 
Refer to the section above on using Elementor Pro to create templates and/or copy content from other pages. The same thing applies to new posts pages.

The Difference Between Pages and Posts

Pages and posts look similar, so are you wondering what the difference is between the two? Here’s what the function of each and how they differ from one another.
 
Pages are static content that usually cover one topic. Examples of pages are: About Me, Contact Me, Privacy Policy, Affiliate Policy, etc.
 
Posts are intended to be for blog content. They are presented in chronological order and are usually grouped according to categories. Posts are also designed to encourage comments and to be shared with others or via email or social media.
 
Posts may also be used to educate readers on a specific subject. Additionally, you can use posts to grow your email list. Simply add opt-in forms for your content upgrades and lead magnets, that correspond to the your blog posts.

 

Finish the Setup of your WordPress Website

Once you have all of the above steps completed, the next step is to add content to your website.
 
As you build your WordPress website, you’ll want to really put some effort into the content you include. Two of the most visited pages on your website will be your Home and About Me pages.  Additionally, you’ll also want to make sure there is a contact form and email address on your Contact Me page, so that people have a way to reach you.
 
Next, you’ll want to add opt-in forms to various places on your website for your visitors to get a copy of your lead magnet and join your email list.
 
If you are going to add a blog to your website, you’ll want to create some posts that will appeal to your Ideal Customer Avatar. Start promoting on your social media accounts, during your live videos and in your weekly email to your subscribers.
 

Cover your A$$ets!

Finally, make sure to complete your Privacy Policy, Affiliate Policy, Disclaimer and Terms and Conditions pages.  Make sure that the policies, disclosures, etc on your website are solid and will protect you. Do not skip this step; omitting these pages (or just copying and pasting from someone else’s website), can get you sued!
 
If you need help crafting these pages, disclosures and policies, do what I did and get templates from Artful Contracts.
 
Amy Nesheim, owner of Artful Contracts, is an attorney that specializes in helping online marketers, course creators, coaches, etc., stay compliant with the law. She has lots of templates for website policies, disclaimers, contracts, non-disclosure agreements, etc. Protect yourself and get her templates.

Summary

As you can see, there are several steps necessary to build your WordPress website, but, most of them don’t take too much time. Realistically, you can have a website up and running in about an hour however, creating quality content for your pages and blog posts will take time.

Grab My Free "WordPress Website Setup Checklist"

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